Did you know that off-site imaging reviews are becoming more and more common? In the past, hospitals had in-house radiologists reviewing all x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds. Now, offices often send these test films to another party to read and interpret. While in-house radiologists or physicians can misread imaging films, having a (possibly untrained) third party interpret these films allows for a higher possibility of mistakes. If you believe a misread caused your condition to worsen, speak with a New York radiology malpractice lawyer.
An attorney from Buttafuoco & Associates can help you prove negligence and file your radiology malpractice claim today: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
How does a medical provider misread imaging films?
A concern is growing in the medical field that doctors and radiology centers are outsourcing their imaging reviews to potentially untrained parties. A 2011 NBC report found that many facilities facing medical malpractice lawsuits for misread imaging cases outsourced their imaging reviews to companies overseas to save on costs. Other companies illegally used doctors’ digital signatures to “sign off” on tests without actually reviewing the images.
While inexperience is a culprit in many misread imaging film cases, simple negligence can also come into play. A doctor directly reading an imaging result can miss signs of injury or disease for many reasons. The following are some examples of misread images:
- Missing a suspicious spot on a lung x-ray in a patient who receives a later diagnosis of advanced stage lung cancer
- Mistaking a bone fracture as an error in the film
- Failing to retake an image that is unclear or unreadable
- Seeing a suspicious spot in an image but failing to note or investigate it further
- eading the wrong patient’s imaging films
Consequences and Liability for Misread Imaging Films
The consequences of a misread imaging test will vary depending on what your doctor should have diagnosed.
For example, if your doctor misread your imaging tests and missed cancerous activity, your cancer could progress to a stage making treatment impractical or impossible.
Missing a hairline fracture could lead to a complete breakage of the bone if a doctor does not treat it quickly enough.
Misreading the film and diagnosing a patient with the wrong ailment (e.g., brain tumor instead of cerebral hemorrhage) could lead to much mental anguish and incorrect treatment.
Liability in these situations can be difficult to determine. It could begin with the radiologists who failed to retake unclear images. Radiologists responsible for reading the reports could be liable if they failed to read the report or falsified a doctor’s approval on an unreviewed record. Finally, a doctor who directly reads the reports can be liable for missing obvious abnormalities or failing to investigate further based on the patient’s medical history.
Proving Misread Imaging Film Malpractice
It usually takes testimony from an expert witness to prove a medical professional was negligent in his care of a patient. To file a medical malpractice claim for misread imaging films, you must have proof that if a competent professional read your initial film, he would have diagnosed your condition earlier or correctly.
Furthermore, you must show that the failure to read the image correctly the first time caused damages such as disease progression and additional medical expenses.
Essentially, you will need the expert witness (i.e., medical professional in the same industry, in this case, another radiologist would be best) to review your initial films and films from the correct diagnosis. If the expert can easily point out the area of concern in the original film and identify where the imaging assessment went wrong, you can submit this as evidence of malpractice.
If you believe your misread imaging case stems from an unqualified individual reviewing your tests, you will likely need to conduct an internal review of the facility’s imaging test processing protocols.
The attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates take care of reviewing your medical records and obtaining the testimony of experts to build your case. If you believe your doctor missed vital information on an imaging test and allowed for the progression of your disease or the death of a loved one, call us today to schedule a free consultation: 1-800-NOW-HURT.